Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
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News from the Week of 4th to 10th of July 2010
The remainder of links for this week will be updated soon, sorry for the delay. - PR
Mercury News editorial: Opposition to job creation about politics, not economics (4 July 2010)
Last week, for the third time, Senate Republicans blocked an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. That means as many as 3.3 million Americans will lose their checks by month's end. Their landlords, grocers and phone companies will also stop getting paid.
Republicans say the $34 billion cost shouldn't be added to the deficit. It may sound fiscally responsible, but it's not � and it's not how they voted when there was a Republican president.
In January 2008, when the unemployment rate was 5 percent � about half what it is today � Republicans overwhelmingly backed a stimulus bill that sent checks of about $1,500 to most U.S. households. That cost $150 billion, every penny of it borrowed. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the opposition to the current effort, voted yes, along with 31 other Republicans in the Senate and 169 in the House.
That's just one example of past GOP support for the mantra, "Deficits don't matter."
Multiple Bush-era tax cuts added $1.7 trillion to the national debt just through 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Never mind the cost of two wars and a new prescription drug benefit.
Big bucks from cancer: Roche makes billions on Genentech's cancer drugs (4 July 2010)
"Success ultimately equates into power, and that's exactly what we are seeing at Roche/Genentech," said J�de Vries-Hippen, chief investment officer for European equities at Allianz Global Investors in Frankfurt. "Now that the full integration has taken place, it's the Genentech guys being promoted and getting the key positions."
Besides the billions it spent to buy Genentech, Roche has another reason to handle the biotech company carefully: its lucrative cancer drugs. Three of Genentech's cancer therapies - Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin - together logged sales of $15.36 billion last year, topping the revenue for Roche's 10 best-selling non-Genentech medicines. Genentech generated revenue per employee of $1.2 million in 2008, compared with $527,664 at its Swiss parent.
Wall Street analysts tie Roche's future to Genentech's continued success.
"Roche's long-term sales growth is better than its peers mainly due to a subsidiary that's been churning out its key blockbusters, while its own research unit hasn't been as productive," said Carri Duncan, an analyst at Macquarie Group in Zurich. "It appears to be a case of, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' "
- Pam's demonstration of the Hulda Clark zapper (FLASHBACK) (2009)
- Pam discusses the Hulda Clark zapper as "Experimental" medicine
- Zapper warnings, side effects
- Pam's hour-long series on alternative cancer protocols (6 video series)
PAM COMMENTARY: For those interested in alternative cancer protocols, I don't charge a cent for information on the Hulda Clark zapper and other protocols that I like. The zapper itself could cost you between $50 and $200+, depending on whether you are able to make your own, or choose to buy one of the better zappers on the market.
Squirrel in California campground tests positive for plague (4 July 2010)
A Southern California campground has been shut down after a squirrel captured two weeks ago tested positive for plague.
Los Angeles County public health director Jonathan Fielding tells the Los Angeles times Sunday that Los Alamos Campground in the Angeles National Forest was shut down Saturday and will remain closed for at least ten days.
Plague is a bacterial disease in wild rodents that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of infected fleas.
Squirrel burrows in the area near Gorman will be dusted for fleas, and further testing will be conducted before the campground is reopened.
Fielding notes that there have been four cases of human plague in LA County since 1984, none of which were fatal.
Expert Says Almost Every Cleanup Worker From The 1989 Exxon Valdez Disaster Is Now Dead (4 July 2010)
Are you sure that you want to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? In a previous article we documented a number of the health dangers from this oil spill that many scientists are warning us of, and now it has been reported on CNN that the vast majority of those who worked to clean up the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska are now dead. Yes, you read that correctly. Almost all of them are dead.
In fact, the expert that CNN had on said that the life expectancy for those who worked to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill is only about 51 years. Considering the fact that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is now many times worse than the Exxon Valdez disaster, are you sure you want to volunteer to be on a cleanup crew down there? After all, the American Dream is not to make big bucks for a few months helping BP clean up their mess and then drop dead 20 or 30 years early.
Saving the brown pelican (4 July 2010)
Oil begins its slow and painful death sentence on birds. Oil robs the birds of their natural waterproofing. A pelican's body temperature is between 103 and 105 degrees. So even in the sweltering heat and humidity of summer in the bayou, a pelican will get cold. It becomes disoriented and weak. Pelicans are constantly preening and cleaning their feathers, so oil gets into their stomachs and they get sick. If they're covered heavily in oil, they become immobile and starve to death. Or they die of hypothermia. It's so tragic and immoral.
So unnecessary and criminal.
Did you know that pelicans are monogamous? They're not like dogs or cats - or a Tiger - that chases anything with a tail. A pelican covered in oil is taken from its partner and baby chicks. Without this pelican, its unprotected babies probably will die in the wild.
If an oil-covered pelican is lucky, someone will find it and call the Wildlife and Fish Service. Staffers will come get the bird and bring it to the warehouse in Fort Jackson. Then a decision will be made - can this bird be saved? If it's too broken and sick, the Bird Rescue staff will euthanize it. They hate to do that.
Migrating birds' rest stop could be deathtrap (4 July 2010)
Over the 10 weeks crude has been gushing into the Gulf, more than 2,000 pelicans, cormorants, gannets and water birds have been plucked from gooey slicks and blackened shorelines -- about 60 percent of them already dead.
Those numbers could soar, starting as early as this weekend. In the coming months, birds begin migrating from as far north as the Arctic into the coastal marshes, estuaries and beaches. For many, the seasonal rest and refueling stop could wind up a deathtrap.
Federal wildlife managers and scientists are hatching plans to create new, unfouled havens by flooding idle farm fields and other measures. But they acknowledge there is only so much they can do to distract birds from danger zones in the 120 miles of coastline from Louisiana to Florida already contaminated by oil.
``We won't be able to dramatically affect migration in any way, shape or form,'' said Paul Schmidt, assistant director for migratory birds for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ``The birds are still going to do what they do in the natural cycle.''
Embattled BP still big fuel supplier to U.S. military (4 July 2010)
WASHINGTON � The Defense Department has kept up its immense purchases of aviation fuel and other petroleum products from BP even as the oil giant comes under federal and state scrutiny for potential violations of clean-water and oil-spill laws related to the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, according to U.S. and company officials.
President Obama said last month the company had shown "recklessness" in the Gulf of Mexico that contributed to the disaster and promised that BP will "pay for the damage" it caused. Attorney General Eric Holder said June 2 that Justice Department lawyers were looking at potential violations of civil and criminal statutes, adding that "if we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response."
But BP remains a heavy supplier of military fuel under contracts worth at least $980 million in the current fiscal year, according to the Defense Logistics Agency.
In fiscal 2009, BP was the department's largest single supplier of fuel, providing 11.7 percent of the total purchased, and in 2010, its contracts amount to roughly the same percentage, according to agency spokeswoman Mimi Schirmacher.
The no-fly list � legal limbo for victims of the war on terror (4 July 2010)
One is a disabled former Marine, born in Miami and living in Egypt. Another is a 28-year-old student from Corona, Calif., a German citizen and permanent resident of the United States. Another is a refugee from Guinea who works as a caregiver for a family in New York. Another is an Air Force veteran and retired fireman, originally from Las Cruces, N.M.
There are 10 of them in all, 10 individuals from 10 walks of life who it turns out do have something in common not only with one another, but also with several toddlers, nuns and the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Namely, they've all been refused permission to board planes bound for, or traveling within, the United States, because their names showed up on a terrorist "no-fly" list.
As of last week, the 10 have something else in common. They are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Timothy Healy, director of the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center. The ACLU is seeking an injunction on behalf of individuals who, as the suit puts it, "the government deems too dangerous to fly, but too harmless to arrest."
It's more than a clever turn of phrase. It is also an apt description of the legal limbo to which the government has consigned an untold number of innocent people in the name of fighting terror.
Kayaker finds dozens of veterans grave markers in Lehigh River (4 July 2010)
ALLENTOWN, Pa. � A kayaker from Allentown found in the Lehigh River a cache of 46 grave markers used to commemorate military service.
Joe Brozowski said Sunday he was kayaking near Catasauqua's Pine Street bridge on June 25 when he noticed dozens of markers under about two feet of water.
"I noticed exactly what they were," he said. "The number of them was a pretty sad sight."
Veterans groups and local governments typically place small markers, which come in various shapes and are made of various materials, at the graves of veterans to honor their military service.
Woman rushing to meet Queen, sparks scare after church service (4 July 2010)
TORONTO � Security for the royal visit was taken aback Sunday when a woman broke free from the crowd and approached the Queen as she and her husband, Prince Philip, were leaving a church service in downtown Toronto.
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were walking toward a group of little girls presenting the Queen with flowers when an older woman stopped the Queen. Security rushed up to the woman but appeared reluctant to physically stop her. The woman, who was not immediately identified, said a few words to the Queen and gave her something in a black plastic bag.
The woman, who was in her 60s, dressed in red and held a cane, also said a few words to Prince Philip before security ushered her away.
BP, cops detain reporter for taking pictures of oil refinery (4 July 2010)
Rosenfield, an experienced freelance photographer, said he was detained shortly after shooting a photograph of a Texas City sign on a public roadway. Rosenfield said he was followed by a BP employee in a truck after taking the picture and blocked by two police cars when he pulled into a gas station.
According to Rosenfield, the officers said they had a right to look at photos taken near secured areas of the refinery, even if they were shot from public property. Rosenfield said he was told he would be "taken in" if he declined to comply. Michael Marr, a BP spokesman, released a statement explaining the company's actions:
�BP Security followed the industry practice that is required by federal law. The photographer was released with his photographs after those photos were viewed by a representative of the Joint Terrorism Task Force who determined that the photographer's actions did not pose a threat to public safety.�
Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, said: "We certainly appreciate the need to secure the nation's refineries. But we're deeply troubled by BP's conduct here, especially when they knew we were working on deadline on critical stories about this very facility. And we see no reason why, if law enforcement needed to review the unpublished photographs, that should have included sharing them with a representative of a private company."
PAM COMMENTARY: That's it -- I�m throwing in my full support for the BP boycott now, just for this egregious violation of the First Amendment. BP and the cops should have Federal charges filed against them, or at minimum be sued in a civil court for civil rights violations. Notice that the two oil companies known for having famous journalists detained (BP and Exxon) were both responsible for massive spills and other disasters. Perhaps they have something ELSE to hide (other than the explosion that killed employees there in the past)? Read on...
BP Refinery Safety Record Industry's Worst: Watchdog (FLASHBACK) (17 May 2010)
BP's safety record has come under intense scrutiny ever since the blowout and resulting explosion at its Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig led to the deaths of 11 workers, injuries to others, and the still uncontrolled spewing of tens of thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
On Monday, the Center for Public Integrity reported that its analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records for the energy giant revealed that it has racked up far more serious safety violations at its refineries than its competitors. In a report with the unambiguous title "Renegade Refiner: OSHA Says BP Has Systemic Safety Problem" the CPI, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group writes that 97 percent of the worst violations were found at BP refineries.
An excerpt from it's report:
- BP is battling a massive oil well spill in the Gulf of Mexico after an April 20 platform blast that killed 11 workers. But the firm has been under intense OSHA scrutiny since its refinery in Texas City, Texas, exploded in March 2005, killing 15 workers. While continuing its probe in Texas City, OSHA launched a nationwide refinery inspection program in June 2007 in response to a series of fires, explosions and chemical releases throughout the industry.
- Refinery inspection data obtained by the Center under the Freedom of Information Act for OSHA's nationwide program and for the parallel Texas City inspection show that BP received a total of 862 citations between June 2007 and February 2010 for alleged violations at its refineries in Texas City and Toledo, Ohio.
- Of those, 760 were classified as "egregious willful" and 69 were classified as "willful." Thirty of the BP citations were deemed "serious" and three were unclassified. Virtually all of the citations were for alleged violations of OSHA's process safety management standard, a sweeping rule governing everything from storage of flammable liquids to emergency shutdown systems. BP accounted for 829 of the 851 willful violations among all refiners cited by OSHA during the period analyzed by the Center.
PAM COMMENTARY: Is this why BP is having journalists arrested now? To try to stop more coverage of their horrible safety record?
Palast Charged With Journalism in The First Degree (FLASHBACK) 11 September 2006
It's true. It's weird. It's nuts. The Department of Homeland Security, after a five-year hunt for Osama, has finally brought charges against... Greg Palast. I kid you not. Send your cakes with files to the Air America wing at Guantanamo. Though not just yet. Fatherland Security has informed me that television producer Matt Pascarella and I have been charged with unauthorized filming of a "critical national security structure" in Louisiana. Click here to Read the full story. Click here for the first part and here for the second part of the Democracy Now! report.
On August 22nd, for LinkTV and DemocracyNow! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It's been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW's (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident Pamela Lewis said, "It is a prison set-up" -- except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.
To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation's second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.
So we filmed it. Without Big Brother's authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a "critical infrastructure" asset.
So now Matt and I have a "criminal complaint" lodged against us with the feds. The positive side for me as a journalist is that I get to see our terror-busters in action. I should note that it took the Maxwell Smarts at Homeland Security a full two weeks to hunt us down. Frankly, we were a bit scared that, given the charges, we wouldn't be allowed on a plane into New York last night. But what scared us more is that we were allowed on the plane.
Once I was traced, I had a bit of an other-worldly conversation with my would-be captors. Detective Frank Pananepinto of Homeland Security told us, "This is a 'Critical Infrastructure'... and they get nervous about unauthorized filming of their property." Well, me too, Detective. In fact, I'm very nervous that this potential chemical blast-site can be mapped in extreme detail at this Google Map location. What also makes me nervous is that the Bush Terror Terriers have kindly indicated on the Internet that this unprotected critical infrastructure can be targeted -- I mean located -- at 30 29' 11" N Latitude and 91 11' 39" W Longitude.
After I assured Detective Pananepinto, "I can swear to you that I'm not part of Al Qaeda," he confirmed that, "Louisiana is still part of the United States," subject to the First Amendment and he was therefore required to divulge my accuser. Not surprisingly, it was Exxon Corporation, one of a handful of companies not in love with my investigations. [See "A Well-Designed Disaster: the Untold Story of the Exxon Valdez."]
PAM COMMENTARY: Try to read the whole article., including the links. It gets better (i.e., worse).
A Well-Designed Disaster: the Untold Story of the Exxon Valdez (FLASHBACK) (6 November 2003)
On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez broke open and covered twelve hundred miles of Alaska�s shoreline with oily sludge.
The official story remains "Drunken Skipper Hits Reef." Don�t believe it. In fact, when the ship hit, Captain Joe Hazelwood was nowhere near the wheel, but belowdecks, sleeping off his bender. The man left at the helm, the third mate, would never have hit Bligh Reef had he simply looked at his Raycas radar. But he could not, because the radar was not turned on. The complex Raycas system
costs a lot to operate, so frugal Exxon management left it broken and useless for the entire year before the grounding.
The land Exxon smeared and destroyed belongs to the Chugach natives of the Prince William Sound. Within days of the spill, the Chugach tribal corporation asked me and my partner Lenora Stewart to investigate allegations of fraud by Exxon and the little-known "Alyeska" consortium. In three years� digging, we followed a twenty-year train of doctored safety records, illicit deals between oil company chiefs, and programmatic harassment of witnesses. And we documented the oil majors� brilliant success in that old American sport, cheating the natives. Our summary of evidence ran to four volumes. Virtually none of it was reported: The media had turned off its radar. Here�s a bit of the story you�ve never been told:
We discovered an internal memo describing a closed, top-level meeting of oil company executives in Arizona held just ten months before the spill. It was a meeting of the "Alyeska Owners Committee," the six-company combine that owns the Alaska pipeline and most of the state�s oil. In that meeting, say the notes, the chief of their Valdez operations, Theo Polasek, warned executives that containing an oil spill "at the mid-point of Prince William Sound not possible with present equipment" -- exactly where the Exxon Valdez grounded. Polasek needed millions of dollars for spill-containment equipment. The law required it, the companies promised it to regulators, then at the meeting, the proposed spending was voted down. The oil company combine had a cheaper plan to contain any spill -- don�t bother. According to an internal memorandum, they�d just drop some dispersants and walk away. That�s exactly what happened. "At the owners committee meeting in Phoenix, it was decided that Alyeska would provide immediate response to oil spills in Valdez Arm and Valdez Narrows only" -- not the Prince William Sound.
PAM COMMENTARY: Sound familiar? (The link in Palast�s article above is broken, and so I�m linking to a saved copy of his article here.)
Previous BP Accidents Blamed On Safety Lapses (FLASHBACK) (6 May 2010)
The Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion and fire that killed 11 men and triggered a massive oil leak is not the first time BP has had to contend with a horrible accident or spill.
In the past five years, two high-profile accidents have occurred at BP facilities � one at a Texas refinery, another at a pipeline in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay.
In 2005, at a refinery in Texas City, Texas, 15 BP employees died and 170 were injured after a unit that manufactured jet fuel exploded. Temporary trailers had been placed as offices next to extremely volatile units. During the subsequent investigations, evidence emerged that BP management was focused on cutting maintenance and capital spending costs at the company's refineries.
In fact, BP managers' performance was measured in part by their ability to meet these goals. A blue-ribbon panel headed by James Baker III concluded that BP had a "false sense of confidence" about safety.
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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com